VIEW FROM THE BLUE
It's clearly not enough that the playing field has been tilted so far in favour of the Premier League's richest clubs by the yawning and growing gap been the "haves and the "have nots" that the clubs contesting the title and Champions League places are virtually decided before a new season kicks.
No, in addition to the increasing inability to compete with the financially well-endowed, clubs like Everton have to contend with battling bias ? sub-conscious or otherwise ? and sheer incompetence from match officials, the supposed neutral influence guaranteeing fairness and a fair shake for both teams on any given match day. If any Evertonian had any doubts as to the odds stacked against us before, they will surely have been erased by what they witnessed from Martin Atkinson at Goodison today.
The 216th Merseyside derby, hotly anticipated by supporters and over-hyped by the media in the usual fashion... over as a contest as early as the 22nd minute and its inevitable conclusion confirmed in the 71st when Andy Carrol, a mystifying purchase at a staggering Â£35m, hit the proverbial cow's arse with the banjo when he couldn't miss after Liverpool finally managed to carve the 10-man Blues open.
Up to that point, Everton had tried manfully for almost 50 minutes to climb the mountain created by the referee when he showed Jack Rodwell a straight red card for a tackle that wasn't even a foul let alone a booking, assisted by a quite superb penalty save by Tim Howard two minutes before half time. But it was too big an ask for a side that has struggled for goals with a full complement let alone a man down.
And if Luis Suarez, the villain of the incident that led to an incredulous Rodwell receiving his marching orders, would get to rub salt into gaping wounds with a wholly undeserved second late on... well, that's just the Evertonian lot. Get shafted and take it with dignity because what else can you do?
After the failed bus-parking exercise at Manchester City last weekend, David Moyes went with a more attacking line-up, with Louis Saha replacing Phil Neville in the side and tasked with leading the line ahead of Tim Cahill in an otherwise unchanged starting XI. There was no place for Royston Drenthe which left the Blues predictably short on craft in midfield but they compensated with industry in the opening 20 minutes, creating a handful of chances and racking up five corners in the process.
Marouane Fellaini rapped a deflected left-footed volley narrowly wide after just two minutes and, after a dreadful Phil Jagielka clrarance led to Suarez planting a free header straight at Howard from close range, Tim Cahill prompted Pepe Reina into tipping his far-post header over from Seamus Coleman's deep cross.
A couple of minutes later, some lovely footwork by Sylvain Distin presented the Frenchman with a sight of goal but he swept a decent left-footed shot agonisingly over the bar before Saha saw a low drive fly a yard wide of Reina's right-hand post.
Liverpool had been playing the more composed, attractive football ? as they should seeing as Kenny Dalglish has probably spent more on players in a year than Moyes has in a decade ? but it was Everton who looked the more likely to force the breakthrough.
That was until Rodwell went in with an effective challenge that dispossessed Suarez with a clean contact on the ball but his momentum carried him into the Uruguayan's standing leg, to which Suarez reacted like a sniper had taken him out from the commentators' gantry. As he writhed in supposed pain, referee Atkinson, who could not have been more than a few yards away, couldn't wait to rummage in his left pocket and brandish a red card that no one could believe they were seeing.
Rodwell was apoplectic and after putting his head in his hands, he eventually made his way down the tunnel, kicking anything in his way. Arguably the least feisty and hotly-contested Mersey derby in recent memory was now ruined thanks to the actions of a man whose performance the last time he refereed at Goodison incurred such ire from Moyes and his assistant Steve Round that they were fined for by the FA for their comments.
To be brutally honest, the less said about the game from that point on the better because it had been destroyed as a contest and a spectacle. Atkinson compounded his incompetence by failing to book Fellaini and Tony Hibbert for challenges far worse than Rodwells but the best moment from an Evertonian perspective was Howard denying Dirk Kuyt a 43rd-minute goal from the penalty spot.
Jagielka suffered another moment of madness when clattered through Suarez's leg inside the Everton box and, getting something right for a change, the referee awarded a spot kick. Kuyt went to his right, Howard guessed correctly and palmed his shot wide at full stretch to keep matters goalless going into the break, though parity was almost broken when Charlie Adam rattled the bar with an unerring effort from 25 yards out.
For a team that doesn't normally get enough men forward at the best of times, the second half would prove to be an increasingly frustrating affair, particularly as the unseaosnably warm October weather sapped at the energy of players working overtime at a numerical disadvantage. Leon Osman, who'd looked knackered after one lung-busting run in the first half was a passenger after half time but didn't get withrawn until the 69th minute.
A nicely-worked move between Fellaini and Cahill, though, offered hope of an equaliser but Saha's shot on his weaker foot didn't do the passage of play that preceded it any justice while Kuyt wasted a gilt-edged chance at the other end to break the deadlock.
After an hour, Drenthe was introduced for the ineffectual Coleman and Saha drilled a superb effort just wode from 25 yards out with three defenders backing away but it was Liverpool who would eventually score when Hibbert and the supposedly fresh-legged substitute Neville afforded Luis Enrique too much space and he cut it back to Carrol who turned the ball past Leighton Baines and the stranded Howard.
After that, the Blues' body language betrayed a beaten and tiring side and though there some flashes of inspiration and purpose from Drenthe ? two of those produced a chance for Saha that he sliced over and one for the Dutchman himself that he, unfortunately, powered straight at the 'keeper ? it was the bastard offspring from across Stanley Park that claimed a second when Distin failed to clear after Baines had stopped Suarez in the area and the South American picked his spot beyond Howard to seal a miserable afternoon for the home side.
Moyes claimed after the match that the sending off, as unjustified as it was, did not cost his side the game but it very clearly did. While there is no guarantee that their early penetration would have eventually translated into goals, it was clear after they were reduced to 10 men that they were not going to win this contest.
And so Blues fans have no real recourse but to swallow another horrifying refereeing injustice ? and this was injustice in its purest form ? whole and prepare for the next game, another daunting fixture at Stamford Bridge. Sorry, but football is fucked...
Player Ratings: Howard 7, Hibbert 6, Jagielka 6, Distin 7, Baines 6, Rodwell 6, Osman 5 (Neville 5), Coleman 6 (Drenthe 7), Fellaini 6, Cahill 7 (Vellios 6), Saha 7
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1 Posted 01/10/2011 at 23:12:06
2 Posted 01/10/2011 at 23:23:48
In the Gwladys Street, I could see what a great tackle it was - I even applauded.
Not a single person in the stadium thought Suarez was injured..
Surely refs are trained to spot & punish bullshit play-acting - how COULD Atkinson have BOUGHT that charade?
A horrible sense of inevitability from then on, but full credit to the fight shown nonetheless.
The barrage of detritus furiously hurled at various Liverpool players a defining memory for me.
3 Posted 01/10/2011 at 23:46:22
Suarez is a very good player but he is one fucking cheating rat faced cunt. There was fuck all wrong with him.
I'd have respect for the ref if he came out and said he had made a mistake but he wont.
Why? Because it's all about him.
I can't understand why he was appointed as ref in for this game in the first place. He's sent off lots of players since last season.
Like Clattenberg I don't expect him to ref a game at Goodison in a while.
Something fucking stinks in football.
Football is fucked and cheats prosper.
4 Posted 01/10/2011 at 23:52:32
Biased cunt of a ref.
5 Posted 01/10/2011 at 23:47:44
6 Posted 02/10/2011 at 00:06:41
For the way they played.
For their refusal to stoop to the instinctive unsporting behaviour exhibited by Liverpool.
For their pride in the shirt.
For the way they refused to show any petulance for the ineptitude of that shameful referee.
And for the fact that, it was clear, had we had a full team we would have beaten what remains one of the most ordinary, overrated Liverpool teams in the last 40 years.
I'm an Evertonian.
7 Posted 02/10/2011 at 00:22:29
Atkinson was a disgrace. Everton should definitely appeal this one and Atkinson should be reprimanded. Problem is the "powers that be" don't have the balls to do it!
8 Posted 02/10/2011 at 01:08:29
The ref wasn't a cheat, to say he was would be to credit him with the competence to do it. He is simply way. way out of his depth Suarez is a cheat. We don't need to waste venom on him. A cheat will do.
9 Posted 01/10/2011 at 23:58:55
'I've got to stop having my enjoyment of Saturdays dictated by events happening on a football pitch in far off places'.
I hate to lose to Liverpool, absolutely hate it. But such as the last derby match on the same day England played world cup rugby, the hate in defeat has been replaced by a a simple nothingness.
Now I feel like a wasted day could easily have been avoided had The FA done the decent thing and perhaps mentioned to Everton fans not to bother turning up, not to watch the match, but go enjoy the park or the beach, treat yourself, go on, see what's out there, because your club's success is simply not required.
Lose to Liverpool? Would have loved to.
The hours have passed, and allowing for reflection, an acceptance that the requisite disparity in premiership fairness was delivered, my view of Referee Atkinson has mellowed like that of other ToffeeWebbers from being a cunt to a mere twat of a man.
I can't accept mediocrity for the club's ambitions amongst the also-rans.
And yet somehow I must accept influences that make any attempt at success a pointless task in futility on the basis that we are not one of the few chosen clubs required to push the Premiership brand.
Yup, football is fucked.
10 Posted 02/10/2011 at 03:57:37
It is pretty much a fact that the sending off was the contribution to our loss. We played very well before it, I think albeit possession, we dominated the match in terms of chances. But then again, a referee ruined a derby.
So I only feel anger to the referee. I am actually proud of the team, We actually played very well second half, atlhough we were lucky towards the end of the first,
But bring on Chelsea and Man Utd I say!! We didnt show ourselves justice for the Liverpool game and really hope we do against the other big two.
Just hope we get something out of this, Either Rodwell's card is rescinded (cmon a certainty!!!) or Atkinson apologies to Moyes or he gets banned.
Because let's put it into context, we get a variety of Everton fans around the world, and this derby rivals most others' around the world, he's ruined the match for a hell of a lot of people tonight!! Everton fans and neutrals!!!
11 Posted 02/10/2011 at 06:53:08
When the Shite had Kiryakos (big Greek defender) sent off for a tackle on Fellaini (a tackle in which our Fella could have been sent off too but wasn't) they seemed to play like they still knew they could, and would, win (they did).
My point is this: we have a small club mentality ? sure, it was a shite decision by Atkinson... but we still could have won the game. At times we really had a go (particularly early 2nd half) but the inevitable defeat resulted.
It's like our crap attitude last week against City: "We'll defend for our lives and try and nick one..."
Yes, we have bugger all money but we still have players that can beat most Premier League teams. Fact is, we only 'play' and win in the 2nd half of the season when the pressure is off. We have a weak mentality (how many big games do we win?) and, I hate to say it, we set up and play like a small club.
We could have won with 10 men today; they weren't that good... but we never BELIEVED.
12 Posted 02/10/2011 at 06:32:29
He then came out with a host of examples. I wondered then, would there be a pivital moment in the game today.
Well, it took in the region of 20 something minutes to find out. Now the dust has settled somewhat, and on reflection, the one thing that keeps coming back to me is the amount of corners, one after another and the build up of relentless pressure on the Shites goal and penalty area.
Something had to done, and it was.
Yep football is fucked and is as bent as a nine bob note. (old money)
13 Posted 02/10/2011 at 07:18:18
Remember the Clattenberg Derby?? Enough said it is still a raw subject. We moaned, we complained and we skirted about it. Never seen him at Goodison since.
Now we have this clown. I would totally back David Moyes and Everton Football Club to actually officially say exactlly what they want to say regarding this prick. No doubt we can't even afford the fine but let's at least bring these arseholes out in the open.
They want the limelight then let's give it to them big style. Let's make them answerable to their incompetent decisions whether they are for or against us. The shithouse that is Dalgleish has decided this week to keep schtum. Thats his prerogative.
I urge Moyes and the club to tell it as it is regarding the latest prick officiating at Goodison and Take The Hit.
14 Posted 02/10/2011 at 00:26:32
Obviously it will not affect this decision, but there's little point in having a load of hot air from the governing bodies about respect and fair play if they do nothing to instill those ideals.
15 Posted 02/10/2011 at 08:42:57
The talking point of Liverpool's opening game of the season ? he ran across the goalkeeper with a defender on his right shoulder, and on darting across he goes down and gets a penalty; the defender (may have been Sunderland's Richardson) didn't get a red and christ, its all you heard for days. Not one pundit questioned the dive.
And this prick has been cheating all through the season.
16 Posted 02/10/2011 at 10:01:35
No, I believe that there is something far more subtle going on here. The ref is probably aware of the fact that Dalgleish has been moaning over not getting the rub of the green from recent decisions and has got it into his psyche that he's not going to add to the list of "injustices". This psychology has been practised for years ? notably by SAF. Moyes even tried it against Mike Riley (and it worked) in the semi-final against Man Utd when a blatant penalty wasn't awarded against us.
I believe that it was a moment of crass incompetence, brought on by almost subliminal pressure that the managers of the "bigger teams" have perfected, aided by their saturation coverage by the media.
What can be done about it? Use of instant replay technology when the ball is dead. Which referee would cheat when he knows that he'll be instantly exposed? Which referee would risk ridicule when he can call on the TV replay for assistance?
An incompetent referee yesterday? Sure. An indefensible decision? Sure. But we've got to ask why these decisions keep happening. Surely not every one of our "top" referees is corrupt or incompetent?
17 Posted 02/10/2011 at 11:26:38
18 Posted 02/10/2011 at 12:04:58
I went during derby day a few seasons back and It was a great day; no radio build-up, no chat from friends and opposing supporters, no stress, no disappointment. We lost. The beach was beautiful. The kids had a ball, the missus was happy. Oh yeah... we lost.
19 Posted 02/10/2011 at 12:35:34
20 Posted 02/10/2011 at 15:49:13
21 Posted 02/10/2011 at 16:57:53
It would of took the forth official 30 seconds to watch the replay and confirm what a twat the cunt was and Rodwell should have returned to the field. Whats wrong with that rule?
22 Posted 02/10/2011 at 17:07:53
23 Posted 02/10/2011 at 17:19:58
It may sound like an excuse to lessen the weight of defeat, but Lyndon's "Football is fucked" is the conclusion to a long drawn out battle I have had with accepting the death of football in the face of unregulated capitalist sporting competitions.
I'm off to watch the lads in the local park next weekend.
24 Posted 02/10/2011 at 17:40:02
Even King Kenny has recently been moaning about refs so a little disengenious of him not to come out and publicly state that regarding the Rodwell incident. No surprises there though!
The main point highlighted here is that refereeing standards regarding key incidents have become a real match influencer.
The speed of the game and media coverage from every conceiveable angle highlights it daily and the pathetic gamesmanship and playacting by a large number of players exacerbates it.
Football is the only sport now that refuses to come into the 21st century and employ modern technology to help the refs make the right decisions.
There are many sensible suggestions out there as to how and when technology can and should be used. Saw this link posted on a BBC blog site today which I believe is a very good summary of the situation.
25 Posted 02/10/2011 at 20:16:38
Enjoyed the venom at the match!! -
PS - 'The ref-er-ees a wan -ker!' How apt...
26 Posted 03/10/2011 at 04:31:08
Personally I would like the 15 teams to refuse to play (happened in Italy and Spain) until the playing field and officiating is on a better level. Maybe the 15 teams could go back into the Football League and restructure, as what is the point of playing in the Prem? It is stacked against us with media, money and officials contriving to keep us out their elite few. You saw what happened with Villarreal in 2004, made sure we were not going any further.
I'm sick of EVERY derby game being turned in their favour... this has gone on now for 40 years, it is beyond belief. Four players sent off in 4 HOME games against the same team? 4 penalties given to the same team in the same time ? how is that possible?
I would refuse to play them at Anfield, why bother going through the stress and hassle of being in the same ground with idiotic morons and then get shafted by dodgy/bent refs everytime.
27 Posted 03/10/2011 at 07:23:25
I was wary of this Ref prior to the match - he has got something of a reputation for dishing out red cards. is this something that he is proud of ? Overall the standard of Refereeing is very poor - it is supposed to be a physical contact sport isn't it. Very soon it will become like Basketball - with only blocks allowed and tackles outlawed.
I sometimes get annoyed when I hear people in Rugby criticising footballers for their attitudes to Referees. I don't condone the crowding and " heckling" of Referees as perfected by Man Utd , but I do think that in Rugby they are better served by their match officicials. Yes the Rugby guys show respect to the Ref - but the Refs show the players respect - they explain decisions to the players, communicate with the players and seem to use their cards as a last resort rather than a first resort.
On Saturday we lost a football match - but football as a whole lost. A poor Ref was very easily conned by Suarez and his 3rd assistant Lucas. I thought they were supposed to be tightening up and players waving imaginary cards/trying to get others sent off.
I was very disappointed when Ireland lost to Wales in the 6 Nations this year in Cardiff - the winning score should not have been allowed - the Ref made a mistake. In the week after the game at least the Ref had the decency and the courtesy to aplogise to the Irish team. Any chance of an apology from Mr Atkinson do you think? Absolutely none I would have thought !!!
How poor have refereeing standards have to become before someone realises the damage that is being done to the game. Saturday's game was shaping up to be a really good game - possibly a classic - but any chance of that was ruined by Atkinson - a poor Referee decided the outcome of the match - remember when football matches used to be decided by the players!!?
28 Posted 03/10/2011 at 12:29:45
I would prefer to see retrospective punishment for diving and cheating from a panel of retired footballers and managers, a bit like citing incidents in Rugby, where the panels decision is final.
We'd still have fuckwits like Atkinson, but the diving would stop in a heartbeat.
29 Posted 04/10/2011 at 12:19:40
30 Posted 05/10/2011 at 03:56:02
Every other sport has technology bar football, why is that? Well, in my opinion, technology will not happen, because Sky and EPL want whoever is in top 4 plus Liverpool as their showcase clubs; consequently, these same teams get all the favourable decisions.
If technology was brought in to review controversial incidents, then these favourite teams would lose out with it ? hence no technology. Fans outside the above five have to realise we are just pawns in their phoney game...
Personally I would like us and the other 14 teams to get together and go back and join the football league and leave Sky 5 to go and play their European Super League, they have that in disguise anyway, it is called the Champions League.
So why should the other 15 teams have to put up with this nonsense, with the massive money imbalance, TV money and appearances imbalance, referee decisions imbalance, media imbalance? Why bother?
I know this sounds a bit radical but it really is a waste of our time and money just feeding the Sky 5. You develop a decent player... media starts... he must go to Sky 5 team. It is relentless until the player is forced out and into a Sky 5 club; consequently you have no chance of competing. Players go to internationals with Sky 5 players and they talk wages, consequently they then demand that from lower clubs or they are off, and so the vicious cycle continues.
Lower 15 TV appearances are kept to a minimum, whilst we are bombarded with footy trailers that only feature Sky 5 clubs, it is almost like brainwashing, as suddenly, when they have the odd weekend without Sky 5, everyone says there is crap matches on this week. No, they are not crap matches at all, just not Sky 5.
Referees are fast becoming a joke where Everton are concerned and particularly when playing Liverpool... can you imagine for 1 minute us going to Anfield in the next 4 seasons and they have 4 sent off and we get 4 penalties? No? me neither, but that is what we have suffered in last 4 seasons, it has escalated due to them failing in my opinion, Sky and EPL terrified one of their darling clubs being replaced by a non-entity club.
So, the 15 clubs left out of this money and cheatfest should really bandy together and say we have had enough, we want the following or we are off:
1. TV appearances made equal
2. European teams will not get a bye in Carling Cup 2nd round
3. FA Cup games must not just feature Sky 5 teams
4. Media to stop printing lies and forcing all the good players out of lower 15 into Sky 5.
5. Technology to be brought in and ran by ex players, preferably from Leagues 1, 2 or 3, otherwise we will end up like all footy programmes with a raft of ex-rs.
6. Prize money more fairly distributed
7. Possibly go back to old system of dividing gate money instead of home team keeping all, yet again this favours the Sky 5.
Failure to change to at least 1/2 of the above and the lower 15 should just pull out of the EPL altogether.
Some will say that is a ridiculous suggestion, which is fair enough, but I find the current system ridiculous, which is vastly stacked against any club who threatens the Sky 5, and if you don't believe me, look what happened to Leeds, Newcastle, Villa, Blackburn and us as well, tried to compete and then pushed back even further, same will happen to Spurs and if not careful Arsenal as well, spent too much to stay in SKy 5, suddenly no CL money and it all falls to bits. Sky want rs back in the top 4, that is clear to see, so Spurs or Arsenal will have to suffer.
As fans we can't just let this carry on it is ruining the game, eventually if something is not done, fans will vote with their feet and walk away, it has started already, it will escalate unless something radical like my suggestion, will change the game to a more level playing field.
31 Posted 06/10/2011 at 01:43:22
Yes, Moyes likes 4-5-1 which has kept up us nearer the top... but, unless he gets Â£10M+ to spend, we won't have top line striker. Have a dig at Moyes when playing one up front when he shouldn't, but don't keep repeating the same drivel when he doesn't.
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